Dating apps can often feel like an overwhelming and daunting place to be.
From endless swiping to deciding who to match with based on a few images and a usually quite short bio, to matching someone and wondering if a witty joke will break the ice.
The ‘new normal’ of dating online can be a struggle at the best of times.
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For me, there’s another unwelcome added element - every time a guy brings up my race immediately or calls me “exotic” it makes me feel uneasy.
For years I could never quite understand why it made me feel so damn uncomfortable.
I have been on the apps like Tinder and Bumble on and off for several years.
While I have mostly had a pleasant experience, there have also been numerous discomfiting and unintentional racist microaggressions made towards my appearance, and quite frankly, I’m over it.
If you’re wondering what a microaggression is, it is defined as the subtle and often unintentional interactions that communicate some sort of bias to marginalised people.
All of us have bias filters based on our experiences, upbringing and the narratives we create through social media.
I am Australian, I was born and raised here. I am, however, of mixed race, with a Fijian mother and an Austrian father.
My features are an equal blend of both, so I can understand why it is difficult for people to figure out my ethnic roots.
While my mixed heritage is an interesting feature I have grown to love about myself, it is by no means my defining one.
Sharing my cultural background with people is something I enjoy when I deem it something I want to share.
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It usually opens up an interesting conversation, and it often leaves me feeling closer to the people I share my personal experiences, anecdotes and family background with.
Next time you probe someone about their race, ask yourself, “Why do I want to know?”
Asking someone about their race presupposes that being a person of colour is not consistent with what, in my case, an “Australian” looks like.